Attend the rally

By choosing to attend the rally, I stand firmly in solidarity with my friends and informants for a cause that I believe to be just. My presence makes me an advocate for indigenous land rights and this is a position that I am very comfortable with. But have I made the choice that will provide the most benefit for everyone involved? Did I inadvertently violate the value of beneficence in my selfish pursuit of justice?

What about the values at risk here?

Respect for Persons
My Decision
Respect for persons:

By accepting the invitation and participating in the events, I show respect for the autonomy and self-determination of my indigenous informants. I also support my own personal autonomy in choosing to participate in an event that aligns with my beliefs.

However, there is a degree of disrespect I show for my research subjects and friends that fall on the other side of the debate. Non-indigenous friends who privately own land have their land threatened by this ruling and may see my public revelry at their loss as disrespectful.

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Accepting the invitation is beneficial to my primary informants in the village because they have a public display of my convictions to their cause. This may help them achieve credibility for their struggle. It also may be beneficial to my position as a researcher in the village because my informants will trust me more now that I have stood up for them in a very public way.

This decision could, however, cause harm to the overall project goals if government officials associate me with the larger project and feel that the research has an activist or somehow subversive agenda. Without permits from the government, our research cannot continue and we cannot help advance the land use/rights issues at all. It also may cause long-term harm if I am now unable to show the wide applicable of the traditional knowledge curriculum because I have been labeled an activist.

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Justice in a very literal sense, and as defined by my own moral gauge, is well-supported by this choice. If the courts ruled in the favor of the communities, which they did, I would simply be celebrating a ruling of the justice system. I also very much believe that justice was served when the indigenous communities were given these land rights.

It may be seen as unjust, however, for me to befriend other local people and then, essentially, celebrate the taking away of their private family lands.

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My Decision:
Well, although I wanted to very much at times, I did not choose this option. I felt that my work integrating the traditional knowledge curriculum into the school system nationally might be compromised if I fully aligned myself with indigenous activists. I felt that I could express my support and congratulations to the community without providing such a high-profile public presence.

What would you do?

Attend the rally

By choosing to attend the rally, I stand firmly in solidarity with my friends and informants for a cause that I believe to be just. My presence makes me an advocate for indigenous land rights and this is a position that I am very comfortable with. But have ...

Defend this Choice!

Don’t attend the rally but express support for those who are going

Not attending the rally keeps the illusion of neutrality in one sense, even if I am honest and supportive with the community members that I’m working with. I run the risk of causing offense by declining the invitation to participate, but I am able to maintain my ‘outsider’ position ...

Defend this Choice!

Don’t attend the rally and express no opinion about it

By staying out of the event and remaining silent, I don’t need to worry about my views in being in the public eye. I can continue with my research without the possibility of being tagged as an activist. However, is my inaction really as inactive as I think? ...

Defend this Choice!

Publicly denounce the rally

By going on record and saying I don’t think this gathering is a good idea, I firmly place myself on one side of the debate. I surprise my friends who thought I shared their goal of promoting traditional land tenure but I effectively distance myself from activists and, in ...

Defend this Choice!

Posted in Fight for Rights in Sight

What do you think?

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